Live: Kurdistan Region public sector workers await budget payments from Baghdad

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Iraq's Federal Supreme Court dismisses case on KRI salary cuts

The Federal Supreme Court of Iraq has dismissed a complaint lodged against Masrour Barzani, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, over a decision to cut a portion of the salaries of employees and pensioners in the region.

The court, hearing the complaint on Tuesday, determined that the issue was outside its jurisdiction.

The complaint sought to annul Decision No. 61, issued by the KRG in 2020, which introduced a 21% deduction from the salaries of employees and pensioners in the Kurdistan Region.

The court schedule revealed that the complaint was rejected due to jurisdictional issues pertaining to the draft contained in the complaint. The plaintiffs included Sarwa Abdulwahid, leader of the New Generation Movement (NGM) faction in the Iraqi parliament, and Shaswar Abdulwahid, leader of the NGM.

The plaintiffs called for the cancellation of the decision and all its implications, including the deduction of funds from the salaries of employees and pensioners. The controversial decision, introduced in 2020, allowed for cuts of up to 21% in civil servant salaries and was widely unpopular.

The KRG says that Baghdad must send the KRI’s financial dues, as the latter has complied with the Iraqi federal budget law.

PM Barzani chaired over the cabinet’s weekly meeting on Wednesday - the first in several weeks - with PUK's Qubad Talabani, the deputy PM, in attendance.

A comprehensive statement tackled issues surrounding the budget law, the commemoration of the Yazidi genocide, regional elections, gasoline prices, the state of electricity, and the KRG’s efforts to implement an electronic payment system.

Despite Baghdad's recent dispatch of funds, KRI civil servants remain uncertain about when they will receive their wages for June.

The statement indicates that Barzani expressed, “The Kurdistan Region has met all its obligations. Therefore, the federal government has no excuse to delay the payment of the region's entitlements. It should promptly send the rights and financial entitlements due to the Kurdistan Region.”

“The Council of Ministers urges all Kurdish forces, parties, and factions to unite in defending the constitutional rights of the Kurdish people and securing the financial entitlements of the Kurdistan Region as outlined in the budget."


Electoral commission lays out seat distribution system

The Iraqi Higher Electoral Commission has laid out the seat distribution in provincial councils for local elections. There are three components to the allocation.

Baseline seats

All provincial councils start with 12 seats.

Population-based seats

Each province gets an additional seat for every 200,000 people exceeding one million in its population.

Minority quotas
Allocations are made for minority groups, distributed as follows:
  • Christian community: Four seats across Baghdad, Nineveh, Basra, and Kirkuk.
  • Faili Kurds: Two seats across Baghdad and Wasit.
  • Mandean Sabeans: Two seats across Baghdad and Maysan.
  • Yazidis: One seat in Nineveh.
  • Shabak: One seat in Nineveh.

Here's a summary of the seat distribution based on 2020 data (Note: IHEC might use a different set of data):

  1. Anbar: 12 seats (Base) + 4 (Population > 1 million) = 16 seats
  2. Babil: 12 seats (Base) + 6 (Population > 1 million) = 18 seats
  3. Baghdad: 12 seats (Base) + 38 (Population > 1 million) + 1 (Christian Community) + 1 (Faili Kurds) + 1 (Mandean Sabeans) = 53 seats
  4. Basra: 12 seats (Base) + 10 (Population > 1 million) + 1 (Christian Community) = 23 seats
  5. Dhi Qar: 12 seats (Base) + 6 (Population > 1 million) = 18 seats
  6. Qadisiyyah: 12 seats (Base) + 2 (Population > 1 million) = 14 seats
  7. Diyala: 12 seats (Base) + 4 (Population > 1 million) = 16 seats
  8. Karbala: 12 seats (Base) + 1 (Population > 1 million) = 13 seats
  9. Kirkuk: 12 seats (Base) + 4 (Population > 1 million) + 1 (Christian Community) = 17 seats
  10. Maysan: 12 seats (Base) + 1 (Population > 1 million) + 1 (Mandean Sabeans) = 14 seats
  11. Muthanna: 12 seats (Base) = 12 seats (Population less than 1 million)
  12. Najaf: 12 seats (Base) + 3 (Population > 1 million) = 15 seats
  13. Ninawa (Nineveh): 12 seats (Base) + 15 (Population > 1 million) + 1 (Christian Community) + 1 (Yazidis) + 1 (Shabak) = 30 seats
  14. Saladin: 12 seats (Base) + 4 (Population > 1 million) = 16 seats
  15. Wasit: 12 seats (Base) + 3 (Population > 1 million) + 1 (Faili Kurds) = 16 seats

Full translated statement from the meeting

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani held a meeting today to discuss the federal oil and gas bill. The meeting was attended by various political leaders, foreign and oil ministers, industry ministers, and advisors to the Minister of Natural Resources from the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, in addition to technical and legal experts.

In the meeting, the latest draft of the bill, complete with its provisions and amendments made by the technical and legal committees, was presented. The goal is to finalize the bill for the approval of the Council of Ministers and to pass it on to the House of Representatives for legislation within the legal and constitutional frameworks.

Prime Minister Sudani emphasized the significance of the oil and gas bill, citing it as pivotal to the strength and unity of Iraq. He regretfully noted that the bill has been suspended for many years, but that the country urgently requires its legislation today to optimally utilize this natural resource. The Prime Minister indicated that there are provinces that have not been able to effectively leverage their resources, negatively impacting development efforts.

Sudani stated that the bill is part of the ministerial program approved by the House of Representatives. It respects the principles of the constitution and ensures a fair distribution of oil resources. The bill also aims to stimulate economic recovery across all regions and contribute to the economic reforms prioritized by the government.

In conclusion, Sudani called for the establishment of a ministerial committee to oversee technical discussions between the Federal Ministry of Oil and the Ministry of Natural Resources in the region. He invited governors of oil-producing provinces, including Basra, Maysan, Kirkuk, and Dhi Qar, for discussions about the bill. The aim is to supplement these discussions with political dialogue to agree on the introduction of the bill.

Federal and KRG officials meet to discuss future hydrocarbons bill 

Meeting today
Meeting today   credit: Prime Minister's office
Baghdad and Erbil are conducting a key meeting to discuss a draft bill for Iraq's oil and gas law, which could determine the future control of Erbil's hydrocarbon sector, according to Prime Minister Sudani. 

The KRG has recently faced setbacks in the energy sector, following a French arbitration ruling in March. This could potentially allow Baghdad to draft a law that considerably reduces Erbil's influence over its hydrocarbon sector.

During a press conference Tuesday, al-Sudani said that "an important session will be held with political leaders, technicians from the Federal Ministries of Oil and Natural Resources in the Kurdistan Region and legal advisors to discuss the draft oil and gas law."

The meeting attendees included PUK leader Bafel Talabani, his energy advisor Ahmed Mufti, Sudani, Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, oil minister Hayyan Abdul Ghani, an advisor from the Ministry of Natural Resources and other Iraqi parliamentary political faction leaders.

Sudani's media office reported that he has called for a ministerial committee to supervise technical discussions between the federal oil ministry and the KRG's Ministry of Natural Resources. The prime minister also invited the governors of the oil-producing provinces Basra, Maysan, Kirkuk, and Dhi Qar, with the condition that these talks should support the political dialogue toward the introduction of the bill.

The PUK's official mouthpiece reported that Talabani provided an overview of the PUK's energy sector strategy and issue resolution approaches, adding that the law's passage must be based on compromise and understanding among all involved parties.
Iraq is working with the US to handle its gas import dues to Iran via Oman, according to Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani. He spoke on Tuesday, noting the current debt stands at about $10.17 billion, which has been lessened after transferring nearly $2 billion to Iran over seven months.

Sudani said during a post-cabinet meeting press conference in Baghdad that representatives from Iraq's Central Bank and the Trade Bank of Iraq are in Oman. They are working to create a method for transferring these funds that aligns with US Treasury Department agreements.

US sanctions on Iran, along with recent actions against several Iraqi banks that curtail the flow of dollars to Tehran, have troubled Iraq. The country relies on Iranian gas for its electricity production.

Sudani acknowledged a recent electricity crisis caused by Iran's decision to decrease its natural gas exports to Iraq after Baghdad failed to pay its debts. The cutback led to a drop in electricity production by 4,500 to 5,000 megawatts. However, he said normal operations resumed after Iraq agreed to trade oil for Iranian gas.

The prime minister also discussed recent incidents involving explosive devices found in Baiji, in Saladin province, targeting electricity towers. He stated that such events are predictable with deliberate neglect and called for public cooperation to protect the power system. He emphasized the community's moral responsibility and noted that it's unrealistic to guard every tower and power station. He stressed the government's role in enforcing laws and holding people accountable.

When asked about the recent surge in US dollar prices in Iraq, Sudani declined to describe it as a crisis. He attributed the increase to currency speculation and smuggling. While some social media users have blamed Washington for the dollar situation, Sudani maintained it was due to domestic issues. He pointed to the state's commitment to banking and monetary system reforms and the impact on a group involved in smuggling and speculation.
Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani and PM Masrour Barzani welcome British recognition of the Yazidi genocide.
Peshawa Hawramani, spokesperson for the KRG, said an announcement is imminent for the schedule of June salaries for civil servants. This comes as Erbil received a curious amount of 598 billion dinars, rather than the needed 912 billion dinars. It is not immediately clear why Baghdad sent the lesser amount.

Pressure is escalating on Erbil to dispense June salaries. Hundreds of doctors and other civil servants have announced boycotts due to the delay.

Full (weird) translated statement

We require 912 billion dinars from Iraq to meet the salary obligations in the Kurdistan Region. This amount is the region's entitlement according to the budget law. However, these financial dues were not dispatched to the KRG. Moreover, even the dues supplementing the necessary salaries were not sent. Only 598 billion dinars have been authorized and signed to be distributed to Kurdistan Region employees.

Today, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani instructed the Ministry of Finance to announce the salary schedule immediately, commence salary distribution, and strive to bridge the deficit as soon as possible.

Estonian defense minister arrives in Erbil


Here are a few other points from Genel Energy's half-year:

  • The KRG currently owes Genel Energy $110 million.

  • Compared to the same period in 2022, production has seen a decline of approximately 55% in the first half of 2023.

  • Genel has notified the KRG's Ministry of Natural Resources about its intention to surrender the asset and terminate the Sarta contract. Despite efforts to make the Sarta license in Erbil, where Genel owns a 30% stake, profitable, the company has decided to cease efforts due to the high investment requirements and uncertainty surrounding payment resumption.

  • The company now expects full-year capital expenditure to amount to $70 million, a reduction from the initially anticipated $100-125 million, with two-thirds of this amount already spent.

  • Limited local sales from the Tawke license are still ongoing.

  • Despite the uncertainties, the company remains hopeful that oil exports will eventually resume, and their agreements with the KRG will not be subjected to review. Furthermore, Genel Energy trusts that all outstanding payments will be settled.

Genel Energy pauses dividend payouts, forecasts $170 million blow due to export stoppage

Genel Energy suspends dividends, anticipating $170 million impact from export halt

Anglo-Turkish Genel Energy reports unaudited results for the first half of 2023, acknowledging that the closure of the Iraq-Turkey pipeline on 25 March, has significantly affected its current and projected cash flows due to minimal sales and halted payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) since that date.


The company anticipates $170 million liquidity impact at year-end due to the cessation of payments and revenues, and uncertainty regarding the resumption of pipeline exports or payments, and so it has decided to suspend its dividend.


The company says that the approval of the Iraqi budget in June set the groundwork for resuming payments and exports, including production from Kurdistan, as an important development. Nevertheless, discussions are still ongoing between Iraq and Turkey concerning commercial and political terms to allow export resumption.


Genel says it continues to reshape its portfolio, organization, and plans, reviewing assets and businesses that align with its strategic frame developed over the past year.

Just in: KRG says it has received 598 billion dinars from Baghdad. 

Iraq in contact with US over settling Iranian debt

Iraq's prime minister has announced that Baghdad is in discussions with the United States over the settlement of a $10 billion debt owed to Iran for gas imports, AFP reports.

The situation is complicated due to US sanctions on Iranian oil and gas, but the PM revealed that Iraq has already paid around $1.9 billion of the debt and is working on transferring the remaining funds via Oman, pending US Treasury approval.

US calls to appoint Sinjar mayor

Ahead of the anniversary of the Yazidi genocide by ISIS, the US State Department is urging Baghdad and Erbil to break the political deadlock by appointing a mayor in Sinjar. The security situation in Shingal remains precarious due to ongoing clashes between the Iraqi army and the Sinjar Resistance Units, an all-Yazidi militia linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Bank officials claim federal budget payments en route to Kurdistan accounts

The Iraqi government has begun transferring salaries for its employees in the KRG. 
According to Mawloud Sabir, the director general of Commercial Banks, the transaction amount is expected to be 906 billion dinars. 

The funds are to be transferred electronically and deposited in full into the bank account of the KRG's Ministry of Finance.

Last night, the KRG finance minister rejected reports that money had been received. 

Hydrocarbons law meeting

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi federal government will convene in Baghdad today to discuss the drafting of a crucial federal hydrocarbons law.

This legislation is expected to delineate the rights and responsibilities of both parties regarding the management of the country's natural resources, especially with regards to the Kurdistan Region's own oil and gas reserves which it had managed and marketed independently of Baghdad for years before an arbitration decision saw Turkey pull the plug on the arrangement.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani has stressed the shared commitment to respecting constitutional and legal frameworks.

Morning briefing

Hello and good morning, folks. Here are today's top stories:

  • The KRG and the Iraqi federal government are meeting today to draft key details of a long-awaited federal hydrocarbons law, determining their shared responsibilities in handling natural resources.
  • The Iraqi government has initiated the transfer of 906 billion dinars as salaries for its employees in the KRG., according to bank officials.
  • The US State Department calls on Baghdad and Erbil to appoint a mayor in Shingal, urging an end to political stalemate ahead of the Yazidi genocide anniversary.
  • Iraq is in negotiations with the US to settle a $10 billion debt owed to Iran for gas imports, amidst complications due to US sanctions.

Stay tuned for detailed updates on these stories.